Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Creativity: the currency of economic development

[12 December 2006 - The Chronicle Herald - Halifax, Nova Scotia - By David B. Smith, President, NSCAD University] Much has changed here in Halifax since I was an undergraduate student at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the early 1990s. The vacant lots that once lined Lower Water Street are largely a thing of the past, and are now home to upscale condos and mixed-use developments. What used to be the inspiration for sentimental reflections on history, loss and change has been reclaimed and repurposed. ... After witnessing firsthand the perils of unbridled growth on quality-of-life issues elsewhere, I am pleasantly surprised at how well the Halifax Regional Municipality has managed. In spite of concerns surrounding increased congestion, suburban sprawl, and yes, even Sunday shopping, that very real sense of a kind and nurturing place remains largely intact. Indeed, it appears – at least on the surface – that the people of Halifax have generally adapted to change rather well, despite the many challenges associated with rapid growth. It is abundantly clear that there has been a tremendous amount of economic development in the region over the last 15 years. What is equally clear to me is that Nova Scotia universities have played a key role in the region’s growth: each of our distinct and widely acclaimed institutions plays a vital role in attracting corporate investment. Nova Scotia universities are the lifeblood of economic development as they provide both the "general" and "specific" human capital that is necessary in today’s knowledge-driven economy. Today’s global marketplace is fuelled by the exchange of ideas. Generated through continuous learning and the critical and creative exploration of perceptions and understandings, this constant exchange of ideas among a variety of disciplines and cultures is driving the economy today, and the key component in all of this is creativity. Simply stated, creativity is the currency of today’s economic development. More

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